During a conference held by Credit Suisse, Disney Corporation confirmed it still plans to proceed with the line’s second private island. CEO Bob Chapek said the cruise line is excited about a “second island destination and three new ships.”
The cruise line is currently in progress to build the first of three new vessels, Disney Wish and has taken the opportunity to increase its private island acreage to coincide with the release of the Disney Wish and her sister ships.
The new island was announced and reported on by Cruise Hive back in 2019, however during the pandemic, and when Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who had been working on the project called Lighthouse Point, retired, news slowed down.
The comments from CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that Lighthouse Point is very much alive and well.
According to Disney Cruise Line: “Lighthouse point will create sustainable economic opportunities for Bahamians, protect and sustain the site’s natural beauty, celebrate culture, and help strengthen the community in Eleuthera.“
“The private island will complement Disney’s existing Castaway Cay, a destination located in the Abaco chain of The Bahamas. The addition allows families to enjoy the site’s beautiful beaches and explore nature, as well as enjoy the broader tourism offerings in Eleuthera.”
The company has, in fact, been busy with the private islands Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), with a first draft being completed in December 2019.
Since then, Disney has been working with the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP) to make many revisions and make sure the private destination remains environmentally friendly.
Visiting The Island
Disney is expected to spend anywhere between $250 million and $400 million on developing the 700-acre property and will be incorporating Bahamian themes while also donating 190 acres, including the southernmost tip of the island, to the government for a national park.
Besides the beautiful beaches, the new island destination of Eleuthera will have many other attractions for both young and old. Once guests leave the ship and make their way shoreside by the newly constructed pier, they will have the opportunity to go to an Adventure Camp, two public beaches, A Spa and Wellness center, Arts and Culture center, Cabanas, and various bars and restaurants to choose from.
Cruise lines have long been accused of doing more harm than good to the places they visit, but this is hardly the case with Lighthouse Point. The cruise line made sure that the natural habitat does not come under threat from the thousands of visitors that will make their way here each year.
The line has assembled a 500-page environmental program listing the various environmental factors surrounding the building of the various attractions. At the same time, a solar farm will also be built on-site to ensure a sufficient power supply.
In addition to its own animal and conservation experts, Disney assembled a team of highly qualified and experienced scientists and other professionals who spent three years developing the environmental program.
This is based on extensive fieldwork, robust data collection and analysis, direct engagement with those who have studied the site and the species observed there, and an exhaustive review of available literature.
What About Castaway Cay?
Lighthouse Point will be Disney Cruise Line’s second private Island destination. The first being Castaway Cay, which will undoubtedly not be disappearing in the background.
Castaway Cay is an award-winning private island that has been popular with the many that have been here and won numerous prizes for the best private island experience.
The cruise line has been coming to Castaway since the 1990s, and lighthouse point will be an addition to what is already being offered. It will allow the cruise line to incorporate more stops in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is much closer to US ports than Caribbean Ports, offering some financial benefits to Disney.
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When will we see Lighthouse Point on the itinerary for the first time? Disney has talked about the destination since 2019 with the scheduled opening date somewhere in 2021, and progress was good.
However, the pandemic will have slowed down this progress, so a final release date could well be one or two years away. Most likely, Disney will want to time this with the release of Disney Wish, or one of her sisters.